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After a stint with her grandma, Alice decided she needed to live with people her own age. Too bad one of them was a complete psycho. From classic passive-aggressive messages, to outright sabotage and threats of bodily harm, Salient brings you the story of the ultimate worst flatmate.
Toward the end of my final year of University, I found myself moving in with my grandmother—something I never thought would happen. But alas, life as a twenty-something can be difficult. I would be lying if I said it was nearly half as carefree and picturesque as my Instagram feed would have you believe.
I returned home one day to find that my roommates had all decided to bail on our leaky old house. Never mind the legally-binding rental agreement, we were all moving out (and of course, as things of a legally-binding nature often do, this later landed us in court).
After being left in such a vulnerable situation by my so-called friends, I swore off roommates for good and moved in with my elderly grandmother. After all, what could make a better environment for studying than living with a 72-year-old? It seemed like the perfect plan; I would save money, get excellent final grades and move to Australia at the end of my degree. But it was not to be.
I met a nice guy, and after receiving one too many judgemental looks from my grandmother, began to consider the possibility of moving in with people my own age. Soon after this revelation, I saw a post on Facebook from a girl I went to high school with.
Becky* was looking for a roommate. Becky had maybe been in my class once or twice at high school; she seemed nice enough and truth be told, I hadn’t really given her a second thought since then. She lived in a five-bedroom house with people I had never met, and it seemed like it would be a good life experience for me, shy as I was.
I moved in on a Saturday. My friends laughed at the rude notes adhered to the fridge via post-it note and I brushed them off as nothing, against all of my better instincts.
It started off great, but things soon began to change.
To say that Becky was difficult to live with is an understatement. She was a modern tyrant, reigning with terror in our house and over all of our lives. We were lucky in that we also lived with Becky’s older sister, who managed to keep her in check most of the time—or so I was told.
Becky would send essay-length group text messages about how filthy we all were and about how she didn’t pay rent to live in such a pigsty. (This later turned out to be very amusing, when I found out how little “rent” she paid.) She would be fiery and aggressive via text message, but would never acknowledge there was any issue in person.
It wasn’t long before I found out about her infamous Twitter account, where she blasted everyone she had ever been the slightest bit annoyed with. I was told it was the key source of information when she was in a bad mood (which was always) but that you also didn’t want her to ever find out that you had read her tweets. She seemed to think that the reading of her tweets was a terrible invasion of privacy, though she continued to post them on her public account on a public platform.
My other roommates would routinely read her tweets and find themselves crucified for being all kinds of things, though words like “filthy” and “lazy” perhaps occurred the most often. I behaved as best as I could, and hoped to never find myself publicly drawn and quartered via one of Becky’s vicious tweets. I did well to begin with, but it couldn’t last.
One of my roommates made the mistake of giving Becky a Christmas card at the end of the year. Not because she necessarily wanted to, but because it would be rude not to. Becky didn’t touch it. She didn’t even have the decency to throw it in the trash. She left it outside her door for weeks so that my roommate would see her trampled gesture every time she came and went from her own room.
Small things like this continued to remind us all of Becky’s wrath. I would spend hours in my room attempting to study, whilst trying to ignore the sounds of her storming through the hallway. I began to check her Snapchat stories each day because it allowed me to assess whether or not she was at home and therefore whether or not it was safe to leave my bedroom. I lived in fear of confrontation, although I had done nothing to warrant the stand-off that I was so afraid of.
Eventually, things escalated to the point of no return. One Sunday evening, I was trying to desperately cram for my exam the next day—the final exam of my entire degree and one that I had to retake due to an injury a few weeks earlier.
It was a hot summer night, so the windows were open throughout the house and the sounds of Becky screaming radiated throughout every room (and probably throughout the entire neighbourhood). Another of my roommates had asked Becky to turn her music down, and after a solid few days of having Jason Derulo playing at max volume, it wasn’t an unreasonable request. Though, as usual, it was met by threats by Becky, the standard “leave me alone before I do something I don’t want to do” followed by door slamming and so on—difficult to ignore, but I tried nonetheless.
It became impossible to study when my internet connection dropped out completely. This happened often, but this was the worst timing yet—I would have to leave my room to reset the modem and risk running into Becky, who had just threatened another roommate with bodily harm (so loudly that I could hear from two bedrooms away).
For the first time ever, however, our failed internet connection was through no fault of our service provider or sketchy modem. I soon discovered that Becky had taken one of the cords and skulked off to her room with it, hiding it there with her in her dragon’s den.
This was it. I could either wait it out and risk failing my exam the next day (and therefore my whole degree) or I could ask her nicely to return the cord so that I could continue to use a service that I was paying for and had every right to use freely. Of course, I chose the latter, and of course, Becky didn’t like that.
I knocked on her door and after being ignored for a minute or two, I opened it anyway. “Do you know what’s happened to the internet?”
I asked her as nicely as humanly possible and she laughed in my face. She told me hers was working fine, and made out like I was the dumbest person in existence for not being able to navigate an internet connection.
I should have just told her that I had noticed a cord was missing, but I didn’t. I didn’t want to accuse her of anything and pay the subsequent price in verbal abuse (or bodily harm, which was apparently now on the cards).
After a heated exchange of words, I returned to my room having achieved absolutely nothing except for my first actual confrontation with Becky—which had me shaken, to say the least. Soon enough, Becky was storming through the house with even more aggression than earlier that day, which is saying something. She yelled at me from the hallway as she passed:
“IT’S CALLED A RESET BUTTON YOU DUMB C*NT!”
For a split second, I thought it might have actually been just the reset button. Although it wasn’t connected properly earlier and I knew full well that a cord was missing, there’s just something about being called a “dumb c*nt” that makes you doubt yourself. I had to check again just in case. Sure enough, an extra cord had now appeared and the internet was working once again. I was now free to study in peace, though I was now far too shaky to concentrate.
Becky blocked me on every feasible form of social media that evening and I moved out with two of the other roommates that same week. Becky and her sister stayed in that house, and I dare say if they weren’t related, her sister would have left her there too.
That was the last I heard of Becky, though she continued to harass my other roommates via txt message. One of my personal favourites was “you’re so two faced, and neither one of them is pretty.”
I never bothered to tell Becky that I knew she’d stolen the cord, though I did have some rather nasty things written about me on Twitter.